Romans - Lesson 3

Class Discussion on the Introduction

In this lesson, you will gain insights into the relevance of the book of Romans to modern-day conflicts within faith communities. The discussion highlights the challenges of balancing tradition and contemporary practices, paralleling the historical context of Jew-Gentile conflict in Romans. Dr. Moo emphasizes the importance of considering the historical significance of tradition and the need for a biblical perspective when addressing contemporary issues. The lesson also touches on Paul's ministry and the possible reasons behind his decision to write Romans, as well as the complexities of legalism in the context of living out the Gospel.

Lesson 3
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Class Discussion on the Introduction

Class Discussion on the Introduction

A. Today’s Demographics May be Similar to that of Romans:

B. The Essence of the Reformation:

C. Expulsion of Jews from Rome:

D. Paul’s Ministry was Fraught with Peril:

E. The Distribution of Paul’s Letters:

F. Legalism verses Living Out the Gospel:

G. Why Rome and the Roman Church:

  • This lesson offers a deep dive into Paul's Letter to the Romans, revealing its pastoral aims, Paul's intentions to visit Spain, Jerusalem, and Rome, and its relevance to early Christian dynamics and theological inquiries about the Law in Christ's time.
  • This lesson offers a fresh view of Paul's theology, focusing on Romans. It emphasizes the first-century context, highlighting Gentile inclusion and unity in Christ, challenging traditional views. Gain insights into Paul's message and its relevance today.
  • Explore the book of Romans for modern faith conflicts: balance tradition with contemporary practices, learn from history, and grasp Paul's ministry and Gospel's complexities.
  • Follow along with Dr. Moo as he begins a thorough review of Romans 1:2-5. You will learn how Paul emphasizes Jesus' earthly life, resurrection, and his appointment as the Son of God in power. This lesson examines the interconnectedness of faith and obedience, underscoring that while faith initiates salvation, genuine faith inherently entails obedience to Christ as Lord, maintaining a balanced Christian life.
  • By delving into Romans 1:16-17, you'll understand the Gospel extends beyond individual salvation, encompassing God's reign over creation and His establishment of justice. The Gospel challenges worldly powers, offering hope and transformation to all who embrace it.
  • Listen along as the class discusses questions and answers revolving around Romans 1:16-17.
  • In Romans 1:18-28, you learn that all people are held accountable by God, having knowledge of Him through natural revelation but some turn away. This passage highlights the manifestation of God's wrath against sin, the exchange of truth for falsehoods, and the absence of excuses for humanity's actions, ultimately emphasizing God's fair judgment.
  • Listen in as the class and Dr. Moo discuss aspects of Romans 1:18-28.
  • The lesson discusses Romans 2:1-11, it highlights the use of the diatribe device and the transition from focusing on Gentiles to Jews. It underscores the Jewish belief in their special status and their potential misunderstanding of God's judgment. The lesson reviews the focus of the text on key themes such as judgment, righteousness, and the relationship between faith and good deeds.
  • In this lesson, you'll review the significance of the Law, notably the Law of Moses, in God's judgment. Paul stresses that mere knowledge of the Law isn't sufficient for righteousness; obedience is key. The primary message is that salvation ultimately relies on God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as human efforts and consciences alone cannot secure salvation. This lesson highlights the importance of understanding these concepts in interactions with people of different religious beliefs.
  • The key takeaway in this lesson is that while being a Jew comes with a great heritage, it doesn't guarantee salvation. Obedience to God's law is crucial, and reliance on religious heritage or rituals won't save you. The lesson emphasizes the universal human condition of being under the power of sin, and people cannot be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the Law or by the works of the Law. Only through faith in Christ are we made righteous.
  • This lesson explores the New Perspective on Paul, emphasizing that the Law was for Jewish covenant status, not just salvation. It promotes a holistic faith view, balancing vertical and horizontal aspects, Spirit-led obedience, and 1st-century Judaism diversity, enriching Pauline teachings in the church.
  • In exploring Romans 3:21-26, you'll gain insights into the relationship between righteousness, faith, and salvation. Paul highlights God's righteousness, which is accessible to all through faith in Jesus Christ. By weaving together themes of righteousness, faith, and inclusivity, Paul challenges conventional Jewish and Gentile perspectives, emphasizing the continuity of God's salvation plan while underscoring the centrality of faith in Christ for all believers.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insights into the potential challenge in translating Romans 3:23-24, particularly the term "all" and its connection to the debate on universalism in evangelicalism. Dr. Moo stresses the importance of coherence in biblical interpretation and explores the themes of God's righteousness, faith, and grace in justification. The lesson reviews the cultural background of redemption, drawing parallels with the Greco-Roman slave market and emphasizing the need to understand both the problem of sin and the Gospel solution.
  • Embarking on this lesson, you'll gain insight into the historical development and contemporary challenges surrounding the doctrine of justification. Through exploring classic Reformation principles and contemporary reassessments, you'll understand the tensions between Protestant and Roman Catholic perspectives, particularly regarding the infusion of righteousness and the role of grace.
  • The lesson explores the intricate connection between faith and works, justification, and sanctification in contemporary theological discourse. It delineates divergent views on justification, with scholars like Piper advocating for the preservation of biblical distinctions amidst modern theological trends. The lesson examines key questions regarding the meaning, basis, time, and means of justification.
  • Students in Dr. Moo's class ask multiple questions about justification.
  • By studying Romans 3:27-4:25, you gain insight into Paul's theology, where faith, exemplified by Abraham's righteousness, transcends works and ethnicity, emphasizing the universal scope of salvation through Christ.
  • Hear the questions the students ask regarding Romans 3:27–4:25. And discover Dr. Moo's answers to the questions posed.
  • In Romans 5 – 8, you gain insights into profound theological concepts like justification, identity in Christ, and the tension between present reality and future hope, guiding you to embrace your changed identity and hope for future transformation amidst life's trials.
  • Students as deep questions about Romans 5-8. Hear what Dr. Moo presents as answers to their questions.
  • Through Romans 5:1-11, you'll review the contrast between the Old and New Realms, understanding the essence of living in grace, finding hope amid suffering, and experiencing the assurance of eternal security rooted in Christ's sacrifice and God's love poured into believers' hearts by the Holy Spirit.
  • In Romans 5:12-21, Paul contrasts Adam's sin with Christ's redemptive grace, emphasizing humanity's hope and victory over death through union with Christ, while various interpretations of original sin underscore the universal need for redemption and Christ's pivotal role in restoring humanity to God.
  • Listen to the thorough questions the students ask regarding Romans 5:12-21.
  • The students ask excellent questions of Dr. Moo in this insightful discussion on Romans 6:1-14.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain a deeper understanding of the theological implications of Christ's death and resurrection as explained in Romans 6. You will explore different interpretations of Paul's language regarding the old self and the new self, considering the implications for the Christian life. Ultimately, you will be challenged to recognize your identity in Christ and to actively live according to that identity, rejecting the slavery of sin and embracing servitude to God.
  • Hear the questions the students ask of Dr. Moo regarding Romans 6:1-23.
  • In diving into Romans 7, you'll explore the Law's role in Christian life. Paul's discourse clarifies the distinction between law and gospel, emphasizing the Torah's significance in understanding divine commandments.
  • Class discussion on Romans 7:1-6
  • In Romans 7:7-12, Paul explores the Law's role in intensifying sin and contrasts it with Christ's liberation. His narrative prompts reflection on individual experience and collective identity, enriching understanding of Christian faith.
  • The class discusses the previous lesson on Romans 7:7-12.
  • This lesson covers interpretations of Romans 7:13-25; whether Paul's description is of pre- or post-conversion struggle with the Law.
  • In Romans 8:1-22, discover the Spirit's transformative power over sin, leading to a life free from condemnation, intimacy with God, and anticipation of future glory amid present sufferings.
  • Explore the theological insights on environmental stewardship, emphasizing Christian responsibility in light of Romans 8:19-22.
  • Gain insights into Romans 8:23-27, understanding destined glory despite present suffering. The Spirit intercedes, bridging current and promised futures, offering assurance amid weakness.
  • Romans 8:28 offers profound insights into the nature of God's providence and the believer's journey of faith. Beyond its surface meaning, the verse challenges misconceptions about 'good' and underscores the transformative power of God's grace. It invites believers to trust in God's unfailing love amidst life's trials, anchoring their hope in the assurance of His sovereign care and redemptive purposes.
  • Romans 9:1-5 highlights Paul's profound concern for Israel's salvation and the theological complexities surrounding God's promises. Reviewing salvation history, you'll learn that God's offer of salvation for both Jew and Gentile, fits within the Old Testament narrative.
  • Paul discusses Israel's role in God's plan, emphasizing grace over race. He illustrates divine choices and sovereignty, sparking debates on salvation.
  • Discover diverse views on election, Israel's struggle with faith, and the significance of overcoming theological narrowness in Romans 9:30-10:21. Gain insights into law versus faith in attaining righteousness and the importance of engaging deeply with Scripture for a comprehensive understanding.
  • Gain insights into faith versus works, Christ as the culmination of the Law, and the inclusivity of righteousness through Him. Embrace unity in Christ, transcending cultural divisions, and embodying love and holiness.
  • Gain insight into contrasting righteousness by law vs. faith in Romans 10:5-13. Accessibility of salvation through Christ bridges Old and New Testament teachings, emphasizing unity and continuity.
  • Gain insights into Romans 10:14-21, emphasizing faith, preaching, and Israel's reception of the message. Dr. Moo highlights Paul's use of Old Testament quotes and God's ongoing relationship with Israel, revealing the significance of faith and salvation.
  • Gain insight into Romans 11:11-15. Paul discusses Jewish rejection, Gentile salvation, and Jewish inclusion, aiming to provoke Jewish envy. The phrase "life from the dead" hints at spiritual renewal or future resurrection.
  • Gain insights into the Olive Tree analogy in Romans 11:16-24. Understand humility, faithfulness, and the purpose of warning passages in Scripture.
  • Discover the mystery of Israel's salvation in Romans 11:25-32. Paul reveals unity of Jews and Gentiles, challenging arrogance and emphasizing God's inclusive love.
  • Gain deeper understanding of Christian-Jewish ties, navigate theological challenges, address Israel-Palestine tensions, and embrace God's inclusive grace.
  • Gain deep insights into Romans 12:1-2: True worship extends beyond rituals, urging sacrificial living and transformation in response to God's mercy.
  • In Romans 12:3-8, Paul stresses humility, unity, and diverse gifts within the body of Christ, urging faithful stewardship for the edification of the body of Christ.
  • Gain insights into love's complexity in Romans 12:9-21. Paul urges sincere affection, alludes to Jesus' teachings, and prompts contemplation on love and judgment.
  • Gain insights into balancing submission to authorities with obedience to God. Understand the context of Paul's exhortation to Roman Christians and the complexities of submission, emphasizing humility, unity, and love in the Christian life within God's sovereignty.
  • In Romans 14:1-15:13, you learn about the division in the Roman Christian community, the concept of adiaphora, the balance between liberty and love, and Paul's emphasis on mutual acceptance and avoiding spiritual harm through personal conviction and respect for others' practices.
  • In Romans 15:14-16:27, you explore Paul's extended conclusion, his ministry to the Gentiles, his request for prayers regarding his journey to Jerusalem, the roles of Phoebe and Junias in ministry, and the diversity of the early Christian community.

Dr. Douglas Moo, from Wheaton College Graduate School, offers an exegetical examination of the book of Romans. This course was recorded during a D.Min. seminar at the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity in May 2012.

Please note that the audio mp3 file numbers on downloaded files are two greater than each lecture number beginning with number 15.

Dr. Douglas Moo 
Class Discussion on the Introduction  
Lesson Transcript

Class Discussion on the Introduction

Comment from audience: 
One way that I see this relate to us today is not necessarily the Jew: Gentile conflict, but traditional versus contemporary, particularly in my faith community, the Pentecostal community. We see this constantly. Particularly in the southern churches vs the northern churches you see that conflict of traditional versus contemporary, all the way from music to Bible translation.

Dr. Moo:
A. Today’s Demographics May be Similar to that of Romans:
Bible translation is something I know a bit about; as chair of Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), I was one of the people that put together the updated NIV. There has been some controversy in various ways; you have got the battles that probably all have experienced one way or another. I attend a church and as many have done, that has tried to get the best of both worlds. We have a contemporary service, and we have a traditional service. All the old folks in their dresses, and coats and ties go to the 8:15 service with the organ and the choir and the robes. All the younger people dressed in jeans go to the other service and listen to guitars and drums. Perhaps that is okay; but there is potential to create division within a congregation that way also. You have two churches meeting in the same building rather than one church. That is a good illustration of the kinds of conflict that in some ways Romans is trying to address. The Letter to the Romans is concerned about the unity of believers in Christ. In Paul’s day, obviously, the issue was Jew and Gentile, but we have all sorts of lines of fracture in our day.

I think expansion of the contemporary is lifestyle. Lifestyle has become a broader view in the context of trying to make the text speak to the lifestyle that people choose. Whether it is a shacking up situation, or if it’s a sexual preference situation. The contemporary and traditional have been expanded.  While tradition seems to be stagnant, contemporary has been expanded to more complexity which requires us to be a lot sharper and intentional in our presentation of the gospel.

Dr. Moo:
B. The Essence of the Reformation:
It seems like there is never a lack of new issues that our culture is throwing up to us and requiring us to figure out what is a biblical response. I hope no one here is saying that we have to stick to the tradition because it is tradition. But I do think we have to avoid what C.S. Lewis famously called chronological snobbery in which he said it is always the new that is better. If there is a tradition that is established, the question should be why is that a tradition? Are there good reasons for the tradition? We should not quickly throw overboard that tradition that men and women before us have carved out as they have been trying to be faithful to Scripture. On the other hand, there is nothing sacrosanct about the tradition either. Reformers were the first people who said that the essence of the Reformation is to be always reforming. As new issues come up, it sometimes requires us to go back to the text to look at new questions and try to answer those biblically and always seeking to do it biblically.

How much of an impact do you think the expulsion of the Jews from Rome under Claudius had?  To me, that is almost a lynchpin to what is going on.  They were thrown out, the Gentiles inherited the leadership spots, and then after 54 A.D. they were allowed to come back in and then the Jews were saying we want our positions back, but the Gentiles were saying we got along just fine without you. Is that legitimate?

Dr. Moo:
C. Expulsion of Jews from Rome:
Yes, I think so. We are involved in some sort of historical reconstruction here. It isn’t quite guesswork, but you are right to bring this up in terms of the actual circumstances of the Roman community. They had a history that has led to the situation that they now find themselves in. I am sure that is a part of what was going on with the Roman church.

A couple of questions I have on this particular subject of why Paul wrote Romans.  I almost got the impression that he was a little bit surprised that he was even going that far.  The comment about how he had completed his mission, he had gone to Illyricum, it’s almost felt a little bit like he thought, okay I’m still alive and I’ve still got time and energy, so I guess I’m supposed to go further than I had previously thought I would ever go.

Dr. Moo:
D. Paul’s Ministry was Fraught with Peril:
I think that could be a possibility.  Certainly, Paul knew that his ministry was fraught with peril at every step. He talked very movingly about all the difficulties he had faced and the persecution that he had encounters. He talks about fighting with wild beasts in Ephesus in 1 Corinthians 15, but we are not quite sure what that means. Does that mean that Paul was actually thrown into the arena to fight with wild beasts during his Ephesians ministry? That is possible. Whatever it was, he had certainly gone through a lot.

My next question is: Is there any possibility that the Letter to Rome he assumed would be wider spread since it was going to the church in Rome?  That might be part of the reason for his tact and his diplomacy since he assumed that if these people get it, then it might go across the Roman Empire and therefore have a different level of audience.

Dr. Moo:
E. The Distribution of Paul’s Letters:
We do know for instance in writing to the Colossians, Paul said that he wanted the letter that I am writing to the church at Colossae to be shared with the church at Laodicea, and I want you to read the letter I am writing to the Laodiceans. So, Paul did know and encouraged some circulation of his letters beyond their original destination. I doubt that Paul was thinking about Romans being circulated more universally. It is very hard to say.

I don’t know that Paul thought that he had any thought of any universal circulation of any his letters.

Dr. Moo: 
I’m not sure that would have been clearly in his mind.  As Paul was writing letters, to what degree was he conscious of the Scriptural authoritative nature of what he was doing? It’s a question that is very hard to answer, we don’t know. Most of Paul’s letters seem to be very clearly focused on communicating certain Gospel truths to a particular audience. You don’t have much sense of a wider circulation. It’s difficult to say.

Regarding Jew: Gentile, and some of the legalistic, traditional things, like dress codes, etc., it can be very hard to bridge when you have strong legalistic thoughts in terms of what people do or wear.

Dr. Moo:
F. Legalism verses Living Out the Gospel:
When Paul addresses the issue of the Jewish law as he does many times in Romans, this matter of legalism comes quickly after it. What you get is not always easy for us to adjudicate. Because one person’s legalism is another person’s authentic living-out the life of the Gospel. For example, you are against same sex marriage? Oh, you are being legalistic. Legalism is something that gets difficult to define. Or let’s say you are a Christian who decides for whatever reason that in living out your faith, it makes the most sense to me to refrain from drinking alcohol. Someone else says that you are being legalistic. Is that legalism? This is something that we are going to be addressing during the week. The movement from what Paul says about the Jewish law to a lot of these other issues is not always neat and simple, but legalism does come into play.

Was Rome the given place to write to for support to go to Spain? Was it the next logical step as he planned to go to Spain?

Dr. Moo:
G. Why Rome and the Roman Church:
I suspect of all the Christian communities in that part of the world, that it was partly by virtue of the size of the population, Rome would have been the place where the most Christians would have been gathered together. There also could have been some personal reasons. Remember that two of the people that Paul greets in Roman 16 are Priscilla and Aquila. They had already served with Paul in ministry in Corinth for quite a time. Paul knew them well. In fact, as David was mentioning, they were some of the Jews who had to leave Rome when Claudius expelled all the Jews from Rome and that is why they met up with Paul. But he knows some people there; he has associates there as well which gives him a natural entrée into this Christian group.